Alimony, also called spousal support, is awarded in some Oklahoma divorce cases, but not all. Alimony is intended to provide for one spouse that would otherwise suffer unfair economic effects of a divorce. In some instances, alimony is provided so the lower-earning spouse can enjoy the same standard of living they had while married. When awarded, alimony is most often paid in monthly payments, although the spouse paying the alimony may sometimes pay it in one lump sum as well. While negotiating the terms of a divorce, a couple may agree to the terms of alimony, or a judge can award it.
These are the basics of alimony in Oklahoma, but couples often have many more questions pertaining to this issue when facing divorce. How is alimony calculated? How long is a person required to pay alimony? These are just some of the questions that are answered below.
Calculating Alimony in Oklahoma
Unlike the calculations used to determine the amount of child support one spouse must pay, there is no exact formula used when determining alimony. Instead, a judge will consider many factors and award an alimony amount they deem fair and just. Some of these factors include:
● The spouse asking for alimony demonstrated a need during the economic readjustment period after divorce;
● Whether or not one spouse is able to work, and the type of work they can perform;
● The length of the marriage;
● The ages and overall health of both spouses;
● The financial means of each spouse; and
● The standard of living each spouse enjoyed throughout the marriage.
These are just a few factors a judge will take into consideration when determining whether or not to award alimony, and the amount of payments. Essentially a judge will look at the entire picture for both spouses during the marriage, and post-marriage, to determine if there is a need and how great that need is.
Length of Alimony
When one spouse is receiving alimony, they often want to know how long they can expect those payments. Likewise, those paying alimony also like to know when they can stop making payments. Just as there is no formula for calculating alimony, there is also no set time frame for how long alimony will last. This too rests at the discretion of the judge overseeing the divorce. The largest factor judges typically take into consideration is the length of the marriage. The longer a couple was married, the longer alimony payments are made.
If one spouse dies or remarries, alimony is terminated. If one spouse receiving alimony moves in with another person, this is also a reason to modify an alimony agreement, as they once again have access to two incomes for their household.
The courts in Oklahoma recognize that nothing is ever constant and at some point in the future, the circumstances of either spouse may change. Due to this, it’s possible to modify alimony payments. When the alimony payments were court-ordered during the divorce though, spouses must petition the court to change those alimony payments.
It’s possible to modify alimony payments if the person receiving the payments has obtained a better job and is making more money than they were at the time of divorce. Or, if the person paying alimony suddenly loses their job or comes under financial hardship, the courts may also modify the alimony payments. These are just two reasons a court may modify an alimony order. Any time either spouse undergoes a substantial change in their circumstances, they may find it necessary to petition the courts to modify alimony.
Need Help with an Alimony Order or Divorce Petition? Call an Oklahoma Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is never easy and, sometimes, ironing out the terms of that divorce is even more difficult. Most of the time, even in amicable divorces, people can’t do it alone. They need the help of a divorce lawyer in Oklahoma City.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce, or if the proceedings have already started and you need representation, contact Banks, Gillett, Gillett, PLLC at (405) 607-4800. We are divorce lawyers who can help you get the best terms out of your divorce, and have it finalized as quickly as possible so you can move forward with your life. Call us today for your free consultation and we’ll begin reviewing your case.